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What is VoIP (Voice over IP)?

What is Voice over IP? How is it different from unified communications? And how can it help your small business?

What is Voice over IP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology lets you use the Internet to make and receive telephone calls.

Range of Services

VoIP is available in a wide range of services. Some basic, free VoIP services require all parties to be at their computers to make or receive calls. Others let you call from a traditional telephone handset, or even a cell phone to any other phone.


For VoIP, you need a broadband Internet connection and an IP phone, or VoIP software on your computer. You can use a traditional phone, but you will need a VoIP adapter.

Security and Service Quality

Most consumer VoIP services use the Internet for phone calls. But many small businesses are using VoIP and unified communications on their private networks. That's because private networks provide stronger security and service quality than the public Internet.

VoIP Versus Unified Communications

Unified communications (UC) systems offer more features and benefits than basic VoIP, yet many are still priced for small businesses. UC brings together all forms of communication, including voice, video, messaging and meetings, regardless of location, time or device. With UC, faxes, e-mail, and voicemail are all delivered to a single inbox. You can integrate your phone and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to improve your customer service, and much more.

Benefits of VoIP

VoIP and unified communications enable you to:

  • Reduce travel and training costs, thanks to web and video conferencing
  • Easily grow your phone system as needed
  • Have one phone number ring simultaneously on multiple devices, helping employees stay connected to each other and to customers
  • Reduce your phone charges
  • Have a single network for voice and data, simplifying management and reducing costs
  • Access your phone system's features at home or at client offices, in airports and hotels—anywhere you've got a broadband connection.

Explore Cisco IP phone systems with Voice over IP (VoIP) technology

Want to learn more?


Our resources are here to help you understand the security landscape and choose technologies to help safeguard your business.


Learn how to make the right decisions for designing and maintaining your network so it can help your business thrive.


These tools and articles will help you make important communications decisions to help your business scale and stay connected.

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